Evenki shaman, Feder Poligus, and his spirit helpers.
The sexual morality of the clergy depends upon the context. The shaman has no concern for the standards of contemporary urban dwellers. The sequestered meditating person may pray for the poor and suffering but never see them. The priest must live a celibate and sometimes impoverished life in the midst of opulence and abandon, listening to troubles for which he can offer only otherworldly comfort unless he accepts secular counseling techniques. The protestant evangelical lives in a world of emotion that can overrun its boundaries.
At the time, 1978, I had just been gob-smacked by PNWD Leadership School, a retreat situation meant to put people in touch with themselves and lower our barriers against others. It worked all too well -- we were supposed to become lay leaders but I wanted to be a minister, to know everything and everyone but only professionally. There was doubt about what "professional" meant. http://www.uua.org/governance/leadership/199065.shtml
Okay, there was a little arrogance and pretension in there. In the Pacific Northwest District of the UUA, most of the pulpits were occupied by physically vital, intellectually superior, well-respected men. Men. There were one or two women, mostly entering through their personal relationships with those male ministers. Other women aspired to that, one way or another.
Ultimately, the pot on the table will determine who wins. Portland, the city, is booming now. When it begins to collapse, Sinkford will be old enough to retire.
Not the Vicar of Dibley
Men in my congregations approached me for sex, straightforwardly, so I returned the attitude: “I charge a helluva lot more to be the temple whore.” They thought I was stuck up and punitive and went away. Goodbye. In other churches things were more flexible. One woman minister told me she slept with a guy who bought her a car which she really NEEDED. Another laywoman told me proudly that she’d slept with every UUA president until she aged enough to lose her charm. It wasn’t that long ago.
An honorable church that serves those on the edge.
Clinical Pastoral Education is a program meant to help future ministers handle the challenges of the real world by confronting their own obsessions. My specific leaders used the teaching vids of the Glide Memorial Church, which has since become a foundation. The films showed people having real sex in various terms: newlyweds, oldsters (pre-viagra but they’d found vibrators), and idyllic sybarites on a tropical island with unbelievable staying power but without clothes. The most perverse part of the session was the snickering leaders (all male) enjoying the discomfort of the nuns in the group.
The main rule of sex, if you have the luxury of safety, is like that of driving at night -- don’t drive so fast that you can’t stop within the reach of your headlights. That will vary with the state of the vehicle, the road and the weather. The old joke the PNWD ministers used to tell was about how to sneak around safely by driving far enough away not to be recognized. Travel a hundred miles away to have sex with someone not your spouse, five hundred miles away if the escapade is same sex, and to a different state if it’s interspecies. (Sheep jokes go here.) As the politicians are discovering, in the Internet Age there is NO safe place. Therefore, don’t do anything you wouldn’t want on YouTube.
Only the indigenous shaman lives where the real world doesn’t impose restraints. Remember that ayahuasca will make you puke, which will probably not attract a congregation. Those are the people who write the checks, baby.